Managing Your Sex Addiction in a Sober House

managing sex addiction in a sober house

Many people who come to a sober house are what are called “dual diagnosis” meaning they are suffering from addiction plus some other mental condition like depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder. Many sober house residents are also cross-addicted, meaning that they are addicted to drugs/alcohol as well as sex, gambling, shopping, food, etc. Some addicts and alcoholics aren’t even aware that they are cross-addicted until they get clean and sober. They will notice that they are suddenly acting out in other ways, trying to get a “fix” or a “high” when they no longer have access to their drug of choice.

Sex addiction is one of the most common cross-addictions for addicts and alcoholics. Sober houses know this. That is why sober houses are usually set up to help you manage your sex addiction.

Managing Your Sex Addiction in a Sober House: Tell on Yourself

If you begin to notice that you are having thoughts about acting out on your sex addiction in a sober house, the best thing you can do is to get honest about it. The staff is there to help you to recover from all addictions, and a sober house environment is most effective when the staff knows what is going on with you. Remember: our secrets keep us sick. In early recovery, we must learn to tell on ourselves consistently. This is a big part of managing your sex addiction in a sober house.

Managing Your Sex Addiction in a Sober House: Take suggestions

Remember that part of living in a sober house is learning to take suggestions! The staff at a sober house have a lot of experience dealing with addiction. They know what works and what doesn’t. Managing your sex addiction in a sober house is a lot easier when you take suggestions, even when you don’t like them! Sober house staff may encourage you to seek out same-sex friendships and to avoid opposite sex friendships, especially in the early days of recovery. If they see you acting out on your sex addiction, they may enforce consequences. This is all done to help you with managing your sex addiction in a sober house so that later, when you are living on your own, you will have a better chance at staying sober.

Managing Your Sex Addiction in a Sober House: Follow the rules!

Sober house rules are specifically aimed at helping you in managing your sex addiction in a sober house. The structure is there for a reason, so use it! When you follow the rules and go with the flow, your experience with sober living will be much more pleasant. They make it easy on you because you do not have to decide whether or not to stay out late with a date or to have a man/women spend the night-you have a curfew and usually no sleepovers are allowed. This way, when you are faced with the decision to either do the right thing or give into your sex addiction, you will have more incentive to make the healthy choice.

Summer Sober Houses

Summer Sober Houses

Many times summer is filled with drinking, trips to beach houses and parties at night. For the alcoholic and addict in recovery it can be hard to find a summer vacation place that is safe and sober. Luckily, there are ways for addicts and alcoholics to party up during the summer in summer sober houses.

Summer sober houses are just like any other normal house except the people who stay in them don’t drink or do alcohol. Instead of having a cocktail hour in the evening they have a meeting, instead of spending their days sipping on fruity alcoholic beverages they go surfing or hiking and instead of getting sloppy drunk at the bar down the street-they go down to the beach and admire the moon. There is a lot life has to offer people who are in sobriety and summer sober houses are an addition to that.

Summer sober houses can be found all over the coast where any normal person would go on their summer vacation. Summer sober houses are just like rental houses except they are for the person who needs a safe place where there isn’t going to be much drinking around and they can be around people who are of the same state of mind as they are. It is really beneficial for addicts and alcoholics when they want to do things that normally involve drinking, to do those things with other people. And this means renting a beach house or summer home. Summer sober houses usually house the same amount of people as a normal rental summer home would except the residents have to go through kind of an interview process. It is not recommended that anyone with only days sober go and rent a summer sober house with their friends because the areas in beach towns still have a lot of temptation nearby but for those who have a little bit more clean time a summer sober house can be the ideal spot to enjoy the warmer months out of the year.

Of course the activities in a summer sober house are different than a normal one and they include everything from surfing, to hiking, to playing cards, to going out to eat, to paddle boarding, to tanning, to getting ice cream etc. Everything but getting intoxicated. In fact some people who stay in summer sober houses do go to the bar for a little bit of dancing but they always have other sober people around them that they go with-they never go alone.

Summer sober houses are the newest and latest thing for those people in recovery who are still looking to have a little fun in the sun minus the cocktails.

Q&A: I’m feeling depressed. What should I do?

Depression

Depression is draining; it drains your energy, hope and drive and this can make it difficult to do what you need to do to feel better. While overcoming feeling depressed isn’t quick or easy it can be done. The key to doing something about feeling depressed is to start small and build from there. Feeling better always takes time but you can begin to feel better if you make positive choices for yourself each day.

If you are feeling depressed and wondering what you should do remember this: Recovering from depressing requires action but taking action when you are in your depression is hard but the things that help the most are the most difficult to do. But if you can do those things you will begin to feel better and you will slowly stop feeling depressed.

Reach out to others:

Isolation and loneliness are one of the things that can make you feel more depressed. That is why one of the things you can do if you are feeling depressed is to reach out to other people. For instance you can turn to trusted friends and family members by sharing what you are going through. Also try to keep up with social activities even if you really don’t feel like it. Often when you are feeling depressed it feels more comfortable to retreat into your home but being around other people will make you feel less depressed. Another thing you can do if you are feeling depressed is join a support group for depression. Being with other people who are dealing with depression can go a long way in helping with your depression.

Challenge your negative thoughts:

Depression can put a negative rain cloud over everything including your thoughts. The trick if you are feeling depressed is to replace the negative thoughts with balanced thoughts. Here are some ways to challenge negative thoughts:

  • It’s ok to be less than perfect: Many depressed people are perfectionists and they hold themselves to impossible and unattainable standards then beat themselves up when they don’t meet those standards. Challenge this. It is ok to not be perfect.
  • Talk to positive people: Pay attention to people who are always managing to look on the bright side of things and how they deal with challenges even minor ones like being stuck in traffic. Then look at how you would react in the same situation. Change your reaction next time. Try to adapt their positivity.

Take care of yourself:

If you are feeling depressed one of the best ways to overcome it is to take care of yourself. This means learning to manage stress, setting limits for yourself, having healthy habits and adding activities to your day.

  • Try to get enough sleep- Depression usually comes along with sleep problems. Get on a better sleep schedule.
  • Get some sunlight- Lack of sunlight can make depression worse so getting enough sunlight is really important. Drink your coffee in the sunlight or enjoy a meal outside. Maybe go to the park and just people watch.
  • Practice relaxation techniques-A daily practice such as prayer or meditation or even yoga can really help to relieve depression. These techniques can reduce stress and enhance feelings of happiness and well-being.
  • Get a pet-Nothing can replace human connection but pets can bring happiness and love into your life and help with feelings of isolation. Caring for a pet can also get you to think outside of yourself and give you a feeling of being needed. All of this is a great way to combat feelings of depression.

If you are feeling depressed of course it is always best to see a doctor about your symptoms and they can either refer you to some kind of counseling or recommend medication if they find it is necessary but part of combating depression is always going to be lifestyle changes. Get back to doing what you love to do!

Source: http://www.helpguide.org/mental/depression_tips.htm

 

Sober House Accommodations

Sober House Accommodations

Sober House Accommodations

Sober house accommodations vary widely depending on what kind of sober house you live in. In most sober houses, you will share a room with one or more roommate, though some places do have single rooms. You will share the common areas-like living room, kitchens, and porches with the rest of your house or apartment mates. This type of communal living is common in sober house accommodations because it gives you:

1. A close knit support group.

2. People around you to keep you honest and accountable.

3. The ability to cooperate with others.

4. An opportunity to learn to set boundaries.

Sober House Accommodations: Gender

For obvious reasons, sober house accommodations are generally same-sex only. Men are housed with men and women are housed with women. Some sober houses do not even allow members of the opposite sex to come on property. This is for your safety and the safety of the other women in the house.

Sober House Accommodations: Transportation

At some places, sober house accommodations will include transportation services. There will be a van, bus, or car to take you to certain places like meetings, outpatient groups, or work. Not all places offer these services, so if you will not have a car, make sure to ask about it.

Sober House Accommodations: Bedding and Cleaning Supplies

Some sober houses provide you with bedding when you arrive, as well as towels and washcloths. Other sober houses expect you to bring it on your own. Many sober houses will also provide you with basics like toilet paper, paper towels, and cleaning supplies. Make sure you know what is provided for you and what you are expected to provide.

Sober House Accommodations: Family

Some sober house accommodations will also provide accommodations for visiting family members. Sometimes, when a sober house facility is an apartment complex, for example, one of the apartments will be reserved for visitors. The family must follow the rules of the sober house i.e. no drugs or alcohol on the premises, but sober house accommodations for families can be very convenient if your sober house is out-of-state.

Sober House Accommodations: Cleanliness

In most sober houses, the residents are responsible for keeping the residence and grounds clean and neat. Sober house accommodations may include a cleaning service on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, but you are still responsible for day-to-day upkeep. The sober house will generally provide outside service for repairs, lawn mowing, and pest control.

Sober House Accommodations: Cable TV and Internet

Most sober house accommodations include cable TV and internet service, including Wi-Fi. These services are factored into the cost of your rent along with utilities such as electric, trash and water. Many sober houses also provide and in-house computer and telephone that is available for the residents to use. If you will not have a cellphone or computer, make sure you check to see what your sober house provides for you. Some sober houses may restrict your internet usage to approved sites.

Social Anxiety in Recovery

Social Anxiety in Recovery

Social anxiety in recovery is a common issue for those who are trying to live clean and sober. In addiction, we often used drugs and alcohol to mask any unpleasant feelings, including social anxiety. Before heading out to a social gathering, we’d have a few drinks or use drugs to make us more relaxed and confident. When we no longer have those chemical crutches, social anxiety can become overwhelming.

Social Anxiety in Recovery: Give yourself a break

Many of us want our lives to get right back to “normal” after we get clean. The problem is we’ve been using drugs and alcohol for so long that we do not even know what normal is anymore. The important thing to remember about social anxiety in recovery is that it takes time to overcome it. You are beginning a new life and it is only natural that you feel a little unsure of yourself. Give yourself a break and realize that it is all part of the process.

Social Anxiety in Recovery: Practice makes perfect

As much as social anxiety in recovery sucks, you will never overcome it if you just avoid situations that make you anxious. The best way to get past a fear is to face it, but start slow. If big crowds overwhelm you, don’t go to big parties right away. Hang out with a few friends and get used to socializing in small groups at first. If you are afraid to share at meetings, find someone from the meeting to talk to one-on-one afterwards. Eventually, you will find it easier and easier to face the situations that give you social anxiety.

Social Anxiety in Recovery: Use coping skills

One of the biggest challenges in recovery is learning to use healthy coping skills to deal with unpleasant emotions. Listen to music or call a sober support when you start to feel anxious. Channel your anxious energy into something useful like organizing your closet. Recognize that feelings are just feelings and they cannot hurt you. Most anxious feelings will subside within 15 minutes if you focus your energy on something else.

Social Anxiety in Recovery: Practice calming techniques

Practicing calming techniques like deep breathing, meditation and yoga will cut down on the amount of anxiety you feel in social situations. Incorporate calming techniques into your daily routine and learn some breathing exercises that you can also do in a pinch when an anxiety-causing situation comes up.

Social Anxiety in Recovery: Keep getting support

A sponsor, therapist, or sober support can be vital when you are dealing with social anxiety in recovery. Surrounding yourself with other people who understand your situation can be such a blessing and can make you feel like you belong again. It’s amazing what an anxiety reliever it can be when you just open up and talk to other people. Many of them will understand exactly what you are dealing with and will be able to share their own experiences with overcoming social anxiety in recovery.

Sober House Visitation Rules

Sober House Visitation Rules

Sober houses have many rules when it comes to just about everything in daily life and that includes what visitors and when. The reason sober houses have rules are because they are meant to give recovering addicts and alcoholics a safe, stable, and structured environment where they can slowly begin participating in society again. Sober houses are usually the transition from inpatient rehab to living independently or going back home. The length of time someone should stay in a sober house after inpatient rehab varies all on the individual circumstances. Here are some guidelines on sober house visitation rules and other rules/facts about sober houses.

  • Sober houses aren’t free

People who are living in a sober house are expected to pay rent, utility and to buy their own groceries. Paying for these things is actually a good thing because it helps build independence and accountability.

  • Sober houses are a community

Sober houses are all about community. In a sober house the individual shares the space and responsibilities with someone else who is going through the same thing they are. By doing this the recovering drug addict or alcoholic can gain self-esteem and accountability.

  • There is random drug testing at sober houses

In order to keep the sober house safe many require random drug testing. This keeps everyone living in the sober house safe and keeps them from relapsing.

And last but not least sober houses have visitation rules. Depending on how strict the sober house is, which can vary from house to house, the visitation rules can range from anyone can come to only family etc. Most sober house’s visitation rules are somewhere in the middle of safe but also understanding. Sober houses usually allow a maximum number of people to come visit the person living in the sober house. Visitation rules at the sober house also specify the time and days when visitations can occur. For instance a sober house may say that visitors are only allowed on Sundays from 3:30 to 6:30. Other sober houses my allow visitors whenever and then there are other sober houses that have visitation rules that require filling out a pass. For instance, if a resident of a sober house wanted to have visitors on any day they would need to fill out a request form and give it to the sober house manager or let the sober house manager know. From that point on the sober house manager would decide the specific set of rules for that resident and their visitors. Some visitation rules at some sober houses will require the visitors to check in at an office and require their ID. This is a precautionary measure to keep all the residents in the sober house safe. It is very easy for an addict or alcoholic who isn’t doing the right thing to lie and lies can be made about visitors and visitors could bring drugs or alcohol onto the property. The reason sober houses’ even have visitation rules to begin with is for this reason. Everything about a sober house including the visitation rules are meant to protect and ensure the sobriety of every residence living there.

Getting Active in Your Sobriety

Getting Active in Your Sobriety

Getting Active in Your Sobriety

Getting active in your sobriety, physically active, is so important. Getting active in your sobriety helps fight boredom, is a natural mood booster, and calms your internal thoughts. These are all vital for people in early sobriety.

Getting Active In Your Sobriety: Fighting boredom

Boredom is a common problem early in recovery. Adjusting to a life without drugs and alcohol can be difficult at first. For so many years, alcohol and drugs were our easy fix to boredom. When there was nothing to do, we did drugs or drank. When we had something to do, we did drugs and drank to make it more fun or to make us more sociable. All of the sudden, when we get sober, we no longer have that crutch.

Boredom can also be very dangerous in recovery, especially early recovery. When I am bored, my mind starts to wander. I start to feel unhappy and unsatisfied with my life. I may start to entertain thoughts of drinking or using drugs just to relieve the boredom.

It is important for us alcoholics and addicts to learn how to entertain ourselves and stay busy. It is something most of us knew how to do at some point in our lives. There was a time before we started using drugs, even if we were children back then, when we knew how to have fun without drugs and alcohol. We just have to re-learn how to amuse ourselves and find out what interests us.

Getting Active In Your Sobriety: Natural Mood booster

Getting active in your sobriety releases endorphins, which are feel-good chemicals. This especially important to individuals recovering from drug addiction because they are often lacking in endorphins. Drugs and alcohol produce a false sense of euphoria. The brain produces a surge of “pleasure chemicals” when they are used. Over time, the brain adapts and produces fewer chemicals when drugs and alcohol are present, and even less when they are not. This is why long-term drug users develop a tolerance to drugs and alcohol over time. They find that it takes more of the drug to produce the same effect. Likewise, when they stop taking drugs and alcohol suddenly, they experience withdrawal symptoms like craving and depression. Exercise causes the body to produce pleasure chemicals, which are very low in addicts and alcoholics after the detox process. It can reduce both the duration and intensity of withdrawal symptoms, and make you feel happier overall.

Getting Active In Your Sobriety: Get out of your head!

It is common to have obsessive thoughts in early sobriety. We may obsess about drugs, the future, some problem in our lives, or really anything else. Getting active in your recovery forces you to focus on something besides your internal monologue. It snaps you out of selfish, self-serving, and ultimately self-destructive thinking. Ever heard that saying about how 90% of what we worry about never materializes? So what’s the point of obsessing about it? Getting active in recovery can derail obsessive thought patterns.

How to manage your bills in early recovery

How to manage your bills in early recovery

Life has been unmanageable for a long time while you were out getting drunk or high. Now that you are in early recovery you are trying to be more responsible and manage the aspects of your life that you can. Bills just happen to be one of those things on the list of “to-dos for life”. Managing bills can be a difficult task for anyone not just those of us who are in early recovery although, being in early recovery can make it a bit more overwhelming at times. There is a lot of anxiety that can come with needing to pay bills, organizing them, and trying not to forget what is due when. Not only that but for those in early recovery there is the added anxiety of just wanting and trying to stay sober. So managing bills in early recovery should be as easy and stress less as possible. So if you want to manage your bill in early recovery here are some ways to begin doing so:

  1. Get your bills organized – As soon as you get a bill through the mail, email etc. Sort through it and separate the pending bills from everything else. When done organizing and sorting place your pending bills in envelope, pocket folder, or label a folder on your email as pending bills and place the emails all there.
  2. Don’t separate pending bills into separate folders – Keep all of your pending bills in one spot. Don’t keep the electric bill and the rent bill in separate folders. All of your pending bills should be in one place where you can easily access them all. It is a hassle to have to search through a million different places for all of your pending bills so just keep them where you can get to them all at once.
  3. Designate a time each month to pay for your bills – Find time to pay all your bills. Whether you set aside time each month to pay them all or you pay one every Friday. Have a schedule on when you pay your bills.
  4. Pay your bills in one place and keep everything that has to do with your bills in one spot – In order to manage your bills in early recovery a little bit easier make sure to keep everything you need to pay bills such as your checkbook, envelopes, stamps, pens, pencils, calculators etc. all in one spot.
  5. Immediately record what bills you have paid – As soon as you pay a bill, make sure to record that you paid it. Don’t wait until later to do this because you will most likely forget.
  6. Put receipts from paid bills in file folders – Once you pay your bills mark the copy or section of the invoice with the date paid, check number and the amount and then file it into the appropriate spot such as utilities, insurance, MasterCard etc.
  7. If you have multiple credit cards get rid of a few of them – Having a ton of credit cards in early recovery is unnecessary. Keep only the cards you absolutely need because having multiple credit cards can get really confusing and unmanageable pretty quick.
  8. Have envelopes already ready for recurring bills – For bills such as rent you can have envelops already ready to go and it will save you a lot of time and effort when you go to pay your bills. Just go ahead and make a year’s worth of envelopes with your landlord’s address on them etc.
  9. Set reminders for when bills are coming up – Most of the time when bills don’t get paid it’s not because we don’t have the money we just forget. So set reminders for the deadlines and dates certain bills have to paid
  10. Look into bill paying software which can do all of this for you – there are a lot of software programs out there that can do most of the managing of your bills for you if you have a computer and want to go that route. This can make it much easier to keep up with managing your bills and takes a lot of the time and effort out of it too.

Either way managing your bills in early recovery is part of living a new life where we are not productive members of society with integrity. In order to move forward in life we must learn how to manage basic things such as paying bills in order to slowly begin managing our entire lives.

 

Lies That Addicts Tell Their Loved Ones

Lies That Addicts Tell Their Loved Ones

Lying is a well-known part of addiction. They are a natural and virtually automatic way of life for addicts. Addicts lie to themselves, to their loved ones, and to the world. They lie about big things and small things, and they often get so caught up in their lies that they don’t even know the truth anymore. Here are some common lies that addicts tell their loved ones and the reasons they do it:

Lies That Addicts Tell Their Loved Ones: Lies to cover up addiction

What it sounds like:

“I only had a couple drinks last night.”

“That isn’t mine; I’m holding it for a friend”

“I don’t drink/use every day”

Why they do it:

Although not all addictive behaviors are against the law, many are. Even those that aren’t are highly stigmatized, even if, like drinking, they are socially acceptable in moderation. It becomes second nature for people with addictions to cover up their addictive behavior because they know, deep down, that if anyone knew how much they used/drank; they would have to make a change. Loved ones would be concerned and/or judge them.

Lies That Addicts Tell Their Loved Ones: Lies to avoid confrontation

What it sounds like:

“I can’t make it to your house to talk, I have to do X, Y, or Z.”

“I need these medications; a doctor prescribed them to me.”

“I’m not that bad, you’re overreacting.”

“I don’t drink as much as [other person]; he/she is the one who really needs help.”

Why they do it:

Although loved ones of addicts often find them confrontational, in reality, they often want to avoid confrontation, especially when it is about their behavior. To avoid confrontation they may get really angry to try to manipulate you into backing down or they may simply lie. Addicts rely heavily on drugs and alcohol to be able to cope with the stresses of life. Being confronted by another person is very stressful, and it is something they have a hard time dealing with. They may even try to make you believe it is your fault they are using because you confronted them in the first place.

Lies That Addicts Tell Their Loved Ones: Lies to avoid negative consequences

What it sounds like:

“I didn’t steal that”

“I can’t do it today, I’m sick”

“My car broke down; I’m not going to make it in”

Why they do it:

Addicts lie to protect themselves. They know if they tell the truth, they will have to face negative consequences-losing jobs, relationships, or even facing legal charges. It is much easier to lie than to own up to the fact that their using/drinking is affecting their everyday life and/or causing them to break the law.

Lies That Addicts Tell Their Loved Ones: Lies where they are the victim

What it sounds like:

“It’s your fault I drink/use drugs. If I didn’t have such a terrible childhood, I wouldn’t need them”

“If you had to deal with the things I have, you would be drinking too.”

Why they do it:

These are lies that the addict themselves may not even realize are lies. They may even be based on a kernel of truth. It is their way of transferring blame for their addiction to another person or situation. They love to play the victim, and will use anything negative events in their lives as an excuse to keep using or drinking. If they don’t have the responsibility for using or drinking, they also don’t have the responsibility for quitting.

How Can I Find My Higher Power?

How can I find my higher power?

How can I find my higher power?

Finding your higher power is a deeply personal experience. Everyone finds their higher power in a different way. Some people have what they call a “moment of clarity” or a “white light experience” where they can finally see the world with clear eyes, and they know there is something bigger than them out there. Other people slowly start to notice things in their life getting better or the beauty around them, and they find their higher power from there.

For me, finding a higher power was a long process. I had been raised in a Catholic family, but as I grew up, I had rejected the idea of God. I studied science, and I loved math. I thought that belief in God wasn’t rational, so I abandoned it completely. In my mind, there was science and then there was religion, and they were mutually exclusive. I had been raised to believe that you either believed in the Catholic version of God, or you didn’t believe at all. I chose not believing at all. “Spirituality” to me, was just another word for religion.

When I came into the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous, I resented the fact that the word “God” was part of the steps. You may as well have told me that Santa Clause was going to come fix my alcoholism. It didn’t make any sense. Alcoholism is a medical disease, there are symptoms and progression. How on earth was some higher power going to cure it?

I didn’t last long that first time through Alcoholics Anonymous. As worldly and intelligent as I thought I was, I couldn’t open my mind even a little on the subject of spirituality.

Two things happened at this point in the process of finding my higher power: My addiction became much, much worse and the world around me began to change.

The drugs stopped working for me. I was having to do more and more to get the same relief. I started experiencing some heavy consequences. I lost my job, my relationship, and the trust of my family. But the worst consequences were the emotional ones. I was utterly miserable. I was restless, irritable, and discontent. I hated myself and my life, and I was desperate. The desperation allowed me to get to a point where I was willing to try anything, even finding a higher power, to experience some relief.

The world began to change as well. Spirituality was no longer regulated to the outskirts in my life. People around me began to talk about holistic medicine and the value of meditation. They practiced yoga and paid more attention to the food they were eating. “Organic” food and products were no longer something I associated with hippies out in California. Books like “The Secret” became bestsellers seemingly overnight.

I began to see that spirituality is possible, even without religion. I started my quest to find my higher power with two basic ideas:

1. I was not the most powerful thing in the world, and outside events were beyond my control.

2. When I live a life based on spiritual principles like honesty, acceptance, open-mindedness, and service, and willingness, things got better.

My quest for a higher power has evolved since then, in ways I can’t adequately explain. I am now comfortable calling my higher power “God.” I have a relationship with my higher power, with nature, and with other people that I cultivate on a daily basis. I also haven’t felt a need to pick up a drug or drink in almost two years.